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Notice to Readers: Innovative STD Prevention Programs

April is National STD Awareness Month. Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) continue to be a serious health threat in the United States. In 2000, an estimated 18.9 million persons were infected with STDs, of which half were persons aged <25 years; direct medical costs of STDs were approximately $9.3--$15.5 billion. Despite these data, innovative STD prevention efforts are having a positive impact on infection rates in several U.S. cities.

Because of the high prevalence of chlamydia in young women and its frequent lack of symptoms, CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active women aged <25 years. However, screening levels might be low in many settings (1). In nonmedical settings, innovative chlamydia screening and treatment efforts have been successful. For example, a program in Philadelphia identified and treated approximately 800 chlamydia infections among female students in city schools during the 2002--03 school year. The intervention prevented an estimated 240 cases of pelvic inflammatory disease and saved the health-care system an estimated $300,000 in future treatment costs (2).

Recent studies have shown potential for reaching sex partners through e-mail and Internet chat rooms and referring them for STD testing and treatment (3,4). Recent data also have demonstrated the potential of "patient-delivered partner therapy," an approach in which persons who have an STD diagnosed are given appropriate medication to provide for their sex partners. Continued innovations, coupled with continued commitment to STD prevention and treatment by health-care providers, health educators, public health agencies, and community leaders, are necessary to reduce the burden of STDs. Additional information about STD prevention is available at http://www.cdc.gov/std.

References

  1. Burstein G, Snyder M, Conley D, et al. Screening females for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) in a large managed care organization (MCO). J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 2000;13:91.
  2. Lawrence D, Salmon M, Asbell L, et al. An economic evaluation of a citywide school-based screening program for Chlamydia trachomatis. Presented at the 2004 National STD Prevention Conference (P076), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2004.
  3. Constant P. Utilizing the Internet for partner notification. Presented at the 2004 National STD Prevention Conference (B09E), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2004.
  4. CDC. Internet use and early syphilis infection among men who have sex with men---San Francisco, California, 1999--2003. MMWR 2003;52:1229--32.

 



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